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Masters Day 1: The Englishman did not disappoint

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Birdies had been as valuable as pearls on Day 1 on the Masters and even tougher to string collectively. Two in a row virtually handed for a necklace. So when Justin Rose went eagle-birdie-birdie by means of the flip at Augusta National, few doubted one thing actually particular was in retailer.

The Englishman did not disappoint.

A fortunate carom off a greenside mound on the par-5 eighth arrange an eagle putt that erased Rose’s 2-over begin and ignited a run that noticed him rack up seven extra birdies over the ultimate 11 holes. Five of these birdie putts had been inside 8 toes and he made a 12-footer for par on the one inexperienced he missed.

“If you had said to me walking up the 8th hole, I’d have said, ‘No chance, this course is playing a little too tricky for that,’” Rose recalled. “But it’s incredible. It’s a good reminder that you just never know what can happen out there, just to stick with it on the golf course.”

Rose’s 65 left him 4 photographs away from his closest pursuers – Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama – on a day when solely a dozen gamers broke par, and miles forward of defending champion Dustin Johnson (74) and a number of massive names anticipated to contend.

A fast sampling of a few of the names who might need to rally simply to make the minimize: Brooks Koepka, 74; Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy (76); and Patrick Cantlay (79). On safer turf had been 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth (71), Jon Rahm (72) and Justin Thomas (73).

“It was a battle. That’s all I can say,” Rahm mentioned. “There was not one moment where you felt relaxed, or where I felt relaxed out there. … All of them were pretty tense.”

How tense? Well, the day’s lightest second could have occurred when McIlroy hit his father, Gerry, along with his method shot into No. 7.

“I knew it was my dad when I was aiming at him,” McIlroy chuckled afterward. “I think he just needs to go and put some ice on – maybe I’ll autograph a bag of frozen peas for him.”

Speaking of autographs, Abraham Ancer signed for a 73 and pronounced himself happy leaving the course. “Played good,” he mentioned. “I’m not mad or disappointed.”

But that was earlier than match officers docked him two strokes a number of hours later after a video assessment confirmed Ancer had touched the sand along with his membership in a bunker at No. 15.

Incredibly, that wasn’t even the cruelest second on that gap.

Shane Lowry’s eagle chip from behind the inexperienced rolled slowly towards the opening, but someway didn’t cease till it slithered off the inexperienced and into the pond in entrance. Not to be outdone, Bernd Weisberger had a putt for eagle from the left facet of the inexperienced and watched, with a hand caught to his hip and rising panic on his face, because the ball waltzed previous the flag and dro-wned itself in the identical pond.

But the identical No. 15 turned a beneficiant face to Spieth. His chip for eagle from behind the inexperienced appeared destined for a similar watery grave when the flagstick received in the way in which.

“It wasn’t just going in the water,“ Spieth said, ”it might need gotten to the center of the water. Probably the luckiest break I’ve ever gotten out right here, if not anyplace, as a result of that was at the least a three-shot break.”

It was that type of day.

The Masters was postponed final April due to the pandemic and eventually staged simply 5 months in the past in mushy, yielding circumstances. After Thursday’s fiasco, many of the subject would have lobbied for a everlasting return to November. Nothing doing.

Instead, the inexperienced jackets took full benefit of the nice and cozy spring climate and let the greens dry out like days-old toast. The first-round scoring common was 74.5, greater than three strokes larger than in November, when 53 gamers completed the primary day within the crimson.

“I feel sorry for the guys’ first Masters in November, and then they’re walking out there today wondering what the hell is going on,” mentioned Kevin Kisner, who shot 72.

For all that, the spherical started auspiciously sufficient when Masters officers invited Lee Elder, the primary Black golfer to compete within the match, to hitch six-time winner Jack Nicklaus and three-time champion Gary Player for the opening tee-shot ceremony.

Elder’s well being wouldn’t permit him to take a swing alongside the duo, however the 86-year-old raised his driver to heat applause from the spectators lining the tee field.

“My heart is very soft this morning, not heavy soft, soft because of the wonderful things that I have encountered since arriving here,” Elder mentioned afterward, sitting alongside Nicklaus and Player, “and being able to see some of the great friends that I have made over the past years, especially these two gentlemen here.”

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